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July 11, 2011 12:01 am

A ‘Crazy State’

avatar by Eli Hertz

Email a copy of "A ‘Crazy State’" to a friend

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (2nd-R) is greeted by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi (R). Photo: PPO.

In 1971 Hebrew University social scientist Professor Yehezkel Dror wrote a short volume entitled Crazy States, solicited by the Rand Corporation. Decades before Muammar Gaddafi began sending contraband by diplomatic pouch, and Pol Pot “invented” the killing fields, Dror envisioned the emergence of polities that “don’t play by the rules”  and, therefore, seem crazy to Westerners. At the time he was roundly criticized as an extremist and prophet of doom; his book was labelled a brilliant intellectual exercise but off-the-mark in terms of reality.

The volume gained new respect after the 1991 Gulf War. Today no one denies the existence of “crazy states,” or as they are now labeled: rogue states. In a 1999 article devoted to how U.S. foreign policy has addressed the problem of rogue states, Professor Barry Rabin of Bar-Ilan University defined the rogue state as:

“[A polity] that puts a high priority on subverting other states and sponsoring non-conventional types of violence against them. It does not react predictably to deterrence or other tools of diplomacy and statecraft.”

The definition seems to fit the Palestinian Authority like a glove even in the pre-state test stage prior to gaining full sovereignty.

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Palestinian Arabs using “non-conventional types of violence” can surely take credit for inventing skyjackings, a political vehicle that permitted taking hostages and extorting political concessions for their release. Palestinians initiated attacks on El Al passengers and airliners at international airports. They escalated the violence by blowing up civilian airliners in midair – the first, killing 47 passengers and crew aboard a Swissair flight from Zurich to Tel Aviv in February 1970.

As far as “not reacting predictably to deterrence or other tools of diplomacy,” in 1974 Palestinians claimed responsibility for the first-ever Palestinian suicide bombing, when 18 hostages near the town of Kiryat Shemoneh in northern Israel were murdered by a Palestinian terrorist loaded with explosives.

Today, the battle that Israel wages against terrorism, and one the Western world must also wage, affects the entire free world.

“A rogue state,” said Rabin “requires special treatment and high levels of international pressure in order to prevent it from wrecking public order, setting off wars, and subverting whole areas of the world … an international equivalent of incarceration or commitment to a mental institution, until there is sufficient recovery to permit reentry into the international system.”

Unfortunately, the world community has been ignoring the prospect that a full-blown independent Palestinian state will become just that kind of rogue state and renegade organization the world is grappling with today.

In light of the Palestinian Arab history of violence and its poor performance coping with limited freedom or autonomy – the equivalent of a halfway house to test their readiness to join the family of nations, and in light of the support (rather than pressure to toe the line) that Palestinians enjoy in the international arena, Palestinians independence could very well turn into a genuine nightmare.

A state with its patterns of despots, coups, assassinations, civil war, corruption, revolutions and lack of respect for human life, freedom and democracy, resembles a “Crazy State” that will continue to threaten Israel and world security.

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